Lay-ing his mark on heritage protection

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 06 Oct 2016

Vintage look gone: Lay showing the original floor tiles that were hacked up at a prewar building in Jalan Cheong Fatt Tze.

GEORGE TOWN: New Zealander Mark Lay is driven by his love for heritage.

The George Town Heritage Action Group co-founder is so dedicated as a watchdog for heritage conservation that he walks everywhere with a camera in hand, taking pictures of renovation works and checking on the permits.

Lay, 50, spent his secondary school days in Singapore from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s.

“As a teenager, I saw a lot of change in Singapore and many prewar buildings being demolished,” he said.

Lay said that at that time, there was a real push in Singapore for development and heritage was not considered important.

“A big change came when tourism numbers started to drop. The Singapore Tourism Board then found many tourists came to Singapore to see the old things and they wrote that it was tragic to see heritage being wiped out in the name of development.

“I do not want what happened in Singapore to happen in Penang,” he said.

Lay said he moved to Penang with his family in 2012.

“Penang is a nice place to live and to bring up my kids. One main reason for coming here was the state’s heritage site,” he said.

He is in the process of applying for the Malaysia My Second Home programme.

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